Jul 19, 2010

Adoption Update - Oh Yeah, Now It's Getting Fun!

We submitted our formal application this past week to our adoption agency. And guess what... they approved us! Yay!

I've had several couples who are thinking about, or who have committed to, the adoption process, ask me what all they can expect in the way of application. So, I thought I would share some of that, without getting into too much detail. (Oh, who am I kidding? You know there's going to be detail.)

The formal application was completed and submitted online. We had to fill out information regarding our insurance, our monthly bills and income, demographic information on all members of our household, a description of our home (number of rooms, size, so forth), a description of our neighborhood, who lives in our neighborhood, what our expectations are of adoption, what types of placement are we open to, and give a list of both professional and personal references, among other things. Whew! It was pretty detailed and lengthy, or so we thought. Then, Friday afternoon I checked the mailbox and found this...

It's my next stack of paperwork. It includes a very detailed Financial Statement where we list our checking and savings account balances, as well as all other assets we might have. At the bottom of that same form, we are to list any liabilities we have such as credit card balances and car loans. There is a second form where we are to list our monthly income and expenses, including food, mortgages, utilities, clothing, child care, and charitable contributions. There are a number of other forms including fingerprint cards. We are to visit the local police department for fingerprint, then we have to send the completed card to the FBI so they can in turn send us a statement saying we have no criminal records, and are not wanted for any crimes. (Every time we're fingerprinted, it makes me think of CSI. You know, how they put the prints up on the computer and check it against their database? I am in that database! If my face pops up on CSI:New York next season, I. AM. GONNA. DIE! Reagan says I really don't have to worry about that though. Cause, it's just a TV show, you know.)

Then, we also have to each, including Sara Madalin, have a physical exam. That's always my least favorite thing to do. The first time I went to do my exam, I went to a local medical clinic. The nurses were not very warm and helpful. When I told one nurse why I needed the exam, for an adoption, she rolled her eyes and said, "Why do you have to do all this?" I was already emotional enough, and someone being rude and cold about it, didn't help. Oh, and then in addition to the physical exam, we get to have blood drawn, for HIV testing. Oh, how I love that. I usually go to the health department for that. The last two times I had blood drawn, I passed out cold in the nurse's chair. I'm not kidding. Now, before I have it drawn, I ask them if I can lie down.

And finally, in our stack of goodies was our "abbreviated" self-study. It was only two pages. In it are questions (again) about housing and our neighborhood, employment, family, health, and finances. There was one or two questions about our Christian faith. We've also submitted copies of our written testimonies of salvation. We are asked to give a description of our relationship with our child's birthparent. My favorite question was, "What did you lean about adoption, openness, and birthparents from going through the process of your prior adoption?" I could have written pages and pages, but I only wrote a short paragraph and then "See www.agiftworththewait.blogspot.com." No, not really.

That might sound like a lot of information and work to some people. Maybe not so much to others. I have to be honest, it bothered me a great deal when we first started the process of adoption. Why do I have to fill out all this stuff? I just want a baby. We have the finances and the loving home, isn't that enough? Plus, I thought, we've already been through the heartbreak of testing and trials of infertility. Now, you're wanting to pick us apart so that we can WAIT for someone to MAYBE choose us to care for their child. People who can get pregnant don't have to go through this. No one asks a 16-year-old girl in high school about her finances or for her written testimony of salvation.

But that is how I felt THEN, 5 or 6 years ago.

Friday afternoon, when I saw the envelope from Bethany, I immediately opened it up, pulled out the paperwork, sorted it into a stack for me and a stack for Reagan, and I began to fill it out. No resentment. No anger. Just hope. And excitement. And humility. If a potential birthmother needs to see that I have 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms in my house to feel that we have room for another child, so be it. If she needs to know that we pay our credit card bill off each month to be assured that we can financially handle the responsibility of her child, by all means, tell her. I'm so humbled that God blessed us with the daughter that sleeps in the yellow room at our house, that I can't wait to do whatever it takes to give her a baby brother or baby sister. (And just for the record, she says "baby sisser" when I ask her what she wants.) So, I began to immediately fill out everything I could in that stack, and began to make plans to later handle what I couldn't.

All those thoughts I had when we did this paperwork the first three times (I think that's how many times I had my arm punctured by the nurse at the health department), I don't have them this time. Yes, we have to fill out a lot of paperwork. No, people who can get pregnant at the drop of the hat don't have to deal with these things. But the paperwork is worth it. And I can honestly say to you, I don't have anger or resentment toward people that can easily (or not so easily) have children. I rejoice with them and for them. I'm perfectly fine with the fact that my babies come from someone else's womb. I'm thankful for my family that God has pieced, and continues to piece, together. He knew I would NEVER be able to make it through labor and delivery with all those needles and nurses anyway. And pain, I hear there's a bit of pain. Not a big fan of the pain.

So, now we're working on these health exams and fingerprints for the FBI. Wish us luck. Once this is all complete and our references have sent in their letters stating what GREAT and WONDERFUL people we are (with our prompting, I'm sure), we'll move on to a home visit with our counselor, where she'll get to see for herself those three bedrooms and two bathrooms. And you KNOW I'll have pictures and a post about that. Please pray that we're able to get everything done quickly in this step, so that we can move forward.

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7 comments:

Jana said...

One thing I have realized through my "mother" friends is being a mother(whether by adoption or by birth) it is a LONG process. I admire any woman that can with stand the wait of becoming a mother. I am sure when your child says "I love you mommy" it is worth every second you wait!! Praying for you all! I am so glad I am one of those who is blessed by yours and Reagan's testimony. You both have shown me that if you wait and pray in God's will he will bless you, and one day I will share get to share my blessing with the world like both of you do!
Love you all!

LedaP said...

Congratulations!!

Could I interest you in a “Blessed by the Miracle of Adoption” car vinyl? We’re selling them to fund our adoption of a 9 year old girl with Thalassemia waiting in Guangzhou. Let me know if you are interested! Thanks! Leda

http://adoptionoffaith.blogspot.com/2010/07/blessed-by-adoption-auto-vinyl-5.html

Avery's Mommy said...

I have been thinking a lot about adoption lately b/c a friend of ours is starting the process. It's something I really want to do one day. But I had the SAME thoughts you wrote "Why do I have to fill out all this stuff? I just want a baby. We have the finances and the loving home, isn't that enough? Plus, I thought, we've already been through the heartbreak of testing and trials of infertility. Now, you're wanting to pick us apart so that we can WAIT for someone to MAYBE choose us to care for their child. People who can get pregnant don't have to go through this. No one asks a 16-year-old girl in high school about her finances or for her written testimony of salvation." Then I thought about how much I would want to know if I was giving Avery to someone and trying to pick the right one. So, I guess I can't blame them.

Thanks for the post. I had NO idea adoption was like this!

adrianne + will said...

Sincere thanks for this entry. As my husband and I start the adoption journey we are constantly asking ourselves these questions and trying to make sense of it all. Your posting with such a positive spin has helped me see how to not worry with the small stuff, but to focus on the end result.

April said...

Congrats on doing the paperwork to be approved to adopt again. We are using the same agency, and I found with each adoption the paperwork and home visit got easier and less stressful. :)

Penny said...

Such a positive outlook on the paper trail. We sign stacks of papers just to buy houses and cars. Your "gift" is worth signing and filling out a million forms. :)
Can't wait to see and hear all about Sara Madalin becoming a big sister~ she is going to be in Heaven loving on that little one.

Jennifer said...

Coming from a birthmom here, I can remember sitting with my social worker reading through profile after profile trying to "select" the best parents for my child, that could assure me they would raise the baby in the happiest of homes. It was the hardest part in the selection process, because I wanted to choose everyone! I'm sure all this will be worth it when you are blessed with your little one, once again. Thanks for keeping us posted! This is getting exciting.